Course Outline

SRP721 Special Research

Course Coordinator:Min Zhao ( School:School of Science, Technology and Engineering

2022Semester 2

USC Sunshine Coast

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.

Please go to the USC website for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


This course allows students, in consultation with the course coordinator and supervisor, to pursue their scholarly interests in a field of study of their choice. Scholarship may take the form of, inter alia, specialist readings and reviews of literature, specialist coursework that may be available from time to time, or research projects. The scholarly activity must result in some output such as reviews, reports, presentations, or responses to examinable material. It is expected that the level of scholarship and output is equivalent to that in any corresponding level of course offered in the Faculty. Students should discuss their project proposal with an academic supervisor in their field of interest.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Independent Study/Research – Independent work is expected every week. Hours/duration will depend on the individual research. 10hrs Week 1 13 times

Course Topics

This course enables the student to pursue scholarly activities in a study field of his supervisor. In consultation with the course coordinator and special project supervisor the student will devise a project plan, undertake the related activities and report on those activities. Therefore, the topic covered in this course will be dependent on the research area of the supervisor and project.

What level is this course?

700 Level (Specialised)

Demonstrating a specialised body of knowledge and set of skills for professional practice or further learning. Advanced application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts.

What is the unit value of this course?

24 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Formulate goals and questions to inform independent learning activities. Creative and critical thinker
2 Identify and apply specific discipline knowledge to plan, conduct and report project activities. Creative and critical thinker
3 Use recognised research skills and technologies to conduct project activities. Knowledgeable
4 Report on project activities and outcomes using recognised written and verbal communication. Knowledgeable

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the USC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Not applicable


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Not applicable

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

Support and feedback will be provided by the project Supervisor.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Practical / Laboratory Skills Individual 20%
1000 words or equivalent
Week 5 To Supervisor
All 2 Report Individual 50%
3000 words or equivalent
Week 13 To be Negotiated
All 3 Oral Individual 30%
15-20 minutes
Exam Period To be Negotiated
All - Assessment Task 1:Research skill
The goal of this task is for you to develop research skills, e.g. laboratory skills or field work skills or skills in reviewing the literature.
Product: Practical / Laboratory Skills
Submit: Friday week 5 for semester or as negotiated with supervisor. To be determined in consultations with the supervisor.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Evidence of research skills e.g. for a literature review, a comprehensive knowledge of the literature, demonstrated skills in finding the literature.
For laboratory and field notebooks, ability to apply recognised research methods and follow procedures, ability to use equipment and carry out experiments according to protocols, demonstrated observational skills in the laboratory and field.
1 2
All - Assessment Task 2:Project Report
The goal of this task is for you to synthesise your project activities and report the outcomes of your project
Product: Report
The report should be 3000 words or equivalent and submitted via Turnitin unless the format prevents this form of submission.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Evidence of formal research writing e.g. for literature management, comprehensive knowledge to interpret data, demonstrated skills in summarizing research outcomes.
All - Assessment Task 3:Oral presentation
The goal of this task is for you to develop your skill in using recognised oral communication strategies and to present your special project outcomes to your peers and colleagues.
Product: Oral
Your presentation will be 15-20 minutes. It will be supported by appropriate visual media tools, for example PowerPoint or Prezi Due in Exam Period
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Representation and explanation of research methods and results
Explanation of project outcomes and critical analysis of results in the context of the literature
Demonstrated understanding by answering questions
Presentation of information - oral and visual
Use of discipline recognised presentation techniques and terms in presentation

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Directed study hours may vary by location. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

There are no required/recommended resources for this course.

Specific requirements

Not applicable

How are risks managed in this course?

Risk assessments have been performed for all laboratory classes and a moderate level of health and safety risk exists. Moderate risks are those associated with laboratory work such as working with chemicals and hazardous substances. You will be required to undertake laboratory induction training and it is also your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements


Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


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Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

Wellbeing Services

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To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 1226.

AccessAbility Services

Ability Advisers ensure equal access to all aspects of university life. If your studies are affected by a disability, learning disorder mental health issue, injury or illness, or you are a primary carer for someone with a disability or who is considered frail and aged, AccessAbility Services can provide access to appropriate reasonable adjustments and practical advice about the support and facilities available to you throughout the University.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Administration of Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Academic Misconduct
  • Students with a Disability

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General Enquiries

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